Buddy Miller on the Cayamo Cruise
Jun 22, 2008
I’m still percolating the high of the Cayamo Cruise, four months after the event. I didn’t get a chance to finish writing about it and I still want to mention some very memorable performers.
I’ve written a bit about Buddy Miller in my columns about Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin and Brandy Carlile. Just prior to the cruise he was part of the “Three girls and their Buddy” tour with Emmylou, Patty and Shawn. Their close rapport was evident and beautiful during the Cayamo cruise.
I had never heard of Buddy Miller. We were having breakfast when another passenger gestured to me and said, “That’s Buddy Miller!” I looked over and saw an unassuming looking man with a baseball cap pulled down over longish white hair. She scuttled up to greet him and they chatted about this and that and then he went to eat his breakfast. He seemed like a really down to earth sort of guy.
Since I’m not really familiar with his albums or songwriting I just want to express my impression of his musicianship. He was a pillar of musical integrity whenever he performed. He has an incredible instinct about how to play with, how to sing with, and how to support and uplift his fellow musicians. Which makes him sound like a really good bra. But I’m not going to explore that analogy any further.
It was an unequivocal joy to watch him accompany everyone. What a gentleman. He supported the other headliners with an intuitive sense, playing guitar beautifully, singing backup and generally adding to the atmosphere with a sweet smile and kind demeanor. He never attempted to draw attention to himself no matter how dazzlingly well he played.
Emmylou did one achingly beautiful, gutsy, gospel-ish song in particular that I think Buddy or possibly his wife, Julie, wrote but I didn’t get the name. It was one of those songs that get in your bones – primal and slow, in a minor key. He was wonderful as he used various effects on his guitar and electric mandolin. When it was his turn to headline, he was relaxed and natural, confident and deft. The music rolled out of him like waves on the ocean. If you ever get a chance to see him, consider it a blessing.
I know he recently toured with Alison Krause and Robert Plant, and has won numerous musical awards.
Buddy’s and Julie’s website fleshes out a lot of information about them and their careers as singer/songwriters. Another neat feature is a list of music that they are or have been listening to. And so goes the great networking of fine musicians, helping one another along. I’m so grateful to Cayamo (and my friend Genevieve, who took me!) so that I had a chance to find out about Buddy. What a mensch.
Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.
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